Former U.S. Ski Team racer, Jake Fiala, who transitioned to skier cross in 2008, has announced his retirement from professional skiing at the completion of the 2010 season.
“Alpine was a majority of my life and that was the highlight,” admitted Fiala. “Ski cross was sort of a way to keep going, a way to continue skiing.”
Fiala, born in Prague, immigrated to the U.S. in 1978 with his parents and grew up in New Mexico. Finding his first true love skiing, at an early age, his father sent him to live with family in Colorado to focus on racing. His father’s efforts paid off. Fiala made his World Cup debut in 1998 in the Aspen World Cup Super G, before making the transition to freestyle 10 years later. As an alpine racer, he relished in success competing in three World Championships and the 2002 Olympic Winter Games in Salt Lake City.
“The Olympics at home was kind of the pinnacle of my memories. This was my home highlight and the cap of my career,” said Fiala. “My dad and a bunch of friends just knew that I traveled all the time to ski, but didn’t know what it was about, and they got to finally watch.”
After three years away from the World Cup level, Jake successfully returned to competition in January 2008 during the Les Contamines, France World Cup skier-x event where he placed ninth in his debut. Over the course of the 2009 season, he added one more top-10 finish and several top-30 finishes to his resume.
As he closes the books on his competitive ski career, Fiala looks forward to settling down into a normal life. Fiala currents owns and operates a tree company with fellow ex-ski racer, Casey Snyder, in famed Summit County, CO. The company started as a part time job to stay in shape and manifested into a full time career when ski racing slowed down. Fiala is also a recent newlywed, married in August 2009.
“I’m trying to start a more normal life, because the U.S. Ski Team [life] is definitely not normal,” joked Fiala.